Thank you for teaching our class. I was really happy with the help that the Hypnobirthing techniques gave me. My birth was wonderful and the classes really helped prepare me. Thank you!
I had Rayna at home with a midwife. Before this pregnancy I never considered homebirth. I always wanted a natural birth, but I always planned on doing it in the hospital. When I started learning about homebirth though, I was really impressed. I decided to try it as long as I didn’t have any complications. I tried to be as prepared as possible by reading the Hypnobirthing book and listening to my scripts and affirmations every day. The affirmations were my favorite part, because as labor began, I felt full of calm confidence which really carried me through the tough parts.
On Sunday morning (the 24th) I had my first surge at 8:30 am. From then on, I started feeling surges every 20-30 minutes. I went all through church and was fine because they weren’t very strong at all. I didn’t need to breathe through them or anything. That evening they were still coming every half hour. I called Richelle (my midwife) to let her know that things were getting started, and we agreed that I would call her again when my surges were closer together. We lay down to go to sleep around 11:00, but I never fell asleep. I got out of bed around 1:00 in the morning and tried to read a book. Around 2:30 I woke up Bowman because the surges were getting stronger and I hoped he could help me relax through them. At 3:30 Bowman left to go the grocery store to get the shopping list of foods we’d made. We wanted to have all the snacks and supplies we’d need during the labor ready. He was gone for a little more than an hour and I think that period of time was one of the most difficult ones. I laid in bed and tried to relax through each surge, but I was tired and lonely and I really wanted him with me to do the HypnoBirthing scripts and things with me.
When Bowman came back he helped me relax more, and just having him there with me really helped me feel better. Around 6:00 am I called Richelle. I was thinking she’d be over within 30 minutes, so when she got to our house at 7:30 I was totally ready for her. I’d been lying in bed, having surges every 10 minutes or so. She checked my progress to see if I had dilated any more since our appointment the week before, and I had! She told me I was dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced. I was so, so glad to hear this news because the last 24 hours hadn’t been for nothing!
Bowman and the birth team got things all ready and pretty soon the birthing tub was ready. It was relaxing to be in the water and I liked the way it helped my surges. They weren’t horrible, and I remember telling Bowman one time when it was just the two of us in the room, “I can totally do this!” It was hard work and I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I would say that I was pleasantly surprised with myself for doing what I had practiced so well and for keeping “on top” of each surge as it came. I felt totally in control and at this point, still really confident about the whole birthing process.
A few hours later I was fully dilated! My water hadn’t broken and the baby was still floating pretty high up. After waiting for a little longer, we decided to break my water. I was glad that Richelle broke my water because it meant that things would pick up soon and that before long I would be breathing my baby out. At the same time though, this thought made me really nervous and I started to cry. I was embarrassed to be crying, but I was feeling a lot of anxiety all the sudden about what I was going to have to do.
The surges started getting a lot harder. I was trying to stick with the Hypnobirthing technique of breathing the baby down, but I wasn’t feeling like pushing, and I definitely wasn’t feeling like I could take breaths that had any sort of influence on what I was feeling down there. We tried lots of positions from this point on, including squatting, sitting, standing, and hands and knees. The surges were really, really uncomfortable and I was starting to freak out a little when I could tell each one was coming. I felt an intense tightening that I tried to resist by relaxing, but I couldn’t help it.
After an hour or two without much progress, my midwife asked if I wanted to try some guided pushing with her assistant. I was totally ready to give it a shot since I was exhausted, anxious, and in pain. Lisa had me take a deep, cleansing breath at the start of each surge. By the time I let the breath out, I would take a really quick, deep breath and push. Then I would release my breath fast and take another breath has fast as I could, then push again. Those fast breaths were to help make sure I didn’t backtrack and let the baby’s head slide backwards between pushes. The whole pushing thing was exhausting and really tough. Sometimes I couldn’t keep my focus and I would have to stop and breathe and my muscles would tighten up again.
After about an hour (I actually have no concept of the time line this all happened on, so I’m just guessing) of this guided pushing, I was able to feel the top of her head with my fingers. I remember pushing to save my life, the hugest push I could, and hearing them say that the head was out. Then I did another huge push and I did feel her body slip out. Bowman was able to catch the baby and bring her up out of the water. She was wet and slippery and arching her back when he put her in my arms. I was so happy she was out!
After it was all over it took quite a while to get things all stabilized. It turned out that Rayna had a hand up by her head, which explained why she didn’t move all the way down by herself, and why I felt like I was pushing her through a rock wall. Her forearm was blocking her exit perfectly! The “breathing down” hadn’t gone very well, I think because she was pinned up high by her arm.
At the end of the experience, I’m really glad I did it at home. My midwife and her team were a dream come true. They took care of everything I needed, plus more. Bowman was absolutely perfect and did everything to help. He was awesome. And I got to have a natural childbirth with a lot of the comforts I don’t think I could have had at a hospital. The relaxation I was able to have during the first stages of labor was really, really great and I’m glad I had read the Hypnobirthing book (twice!) and practiced the scripts and affirmations.
Stephanie, Bowman, and Rayna